Browse Publications Technical Papers 2020-01-0490

Evaluation of Ecosystem for Design Assessment and Verification by the Formula and BAJA SAE Teams at the Oregon Institute of Technology 2020-01-0490

This paper summarizes the outcome of an evaluation by the Formula and BAJA SAE student design teams from the Oregon Institute of Technology of the Ecosystem for Design Assessment and Verification. The Ecosystem is a design decision support tool whose main goal is to identify design oversights early in the design process, guide designers through the design process, and foster high-quality design practices. The Ecosystem offers many features attractive to Formula and BAJA student design teams. It is capable of capturing and archiving design work, including the rationale for design decisions, and making searchable. It enables new design teams to rapidly get up-to-speed, and helps with knowledge transfer. In the case of Formula or BAJA SAE, the Ecosystem allows the design teams to quickly acquaint themselves with the work left behind by previous student teams, such as the opportunities for improvement identified. More specifically, the Ecosystem enables students participating in Formula or BAJA SAE to search archives of part or assembly files from SolidWorks, CATIA, AutoCAD, PTC Creo or NX Unigraphics, and extract thumbnail images in real time and visualize. In this way, students assigned to a specific vehicle sub-system (sub-group) can rapidly search the archives left behind by the previous student teams, quickly establish resemblance, and compile a short list of the parts or assemblies that look remotely similar to the sub-system of interest. The Ecosystem provides an interface to SolidWorks or e-Drawings Viewer, into which student teams can import design files of interest for closer inspection, ultimate verification, or editing. The paper describes an evaluation, that started during the 2016 – 2017 academic year, continued up to the Formula SAE competition in Lincoln NE on June 21 – 24, 2017, and proceeded through BAJA SAE competition in Washougal WA on May 30 – June 2, 2018. In 2016 – 2017, the Ecosystem was provided to the Formula and BAJA teams as an optional tool. Adoption was somewhat slow, in part because the Ecosystem was introduced after the academic year had started. However, on the day the team was set to leave for the competition in Lincoln in June, 2017, the suspension lead contacted the faculty advisor and told the advisor he could not go. This put the team in a tough situation, because the suspension design had not been adequately documented, and because the team did not have another knowledgeable person available, especially on such a short notice. Had this not happened, the team believed it might have made the design finals at the competition in Lincoln. On basis of this experience, the decision was made to require the Formula and BAJA students to capture their vehicle design in the Ecosystem software from the beginning of the 2017 – 2018 academic year. Use of the Ecosystem software during the 2017 – 2018 academic year resulted in the BAJA SAE team earning innovation bonus points at the competition in Washougal WA. The paper elaborates on the structure of the evaluation, describes how the Ecosystem was configured to maximize the students’ benefits, and attempts to quantify these benefits.


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